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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  December 24, 2009 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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♪ ♪ (announcer) we're opening more lanes than ever, to make christmas shopping. and with unbeatable prices, chrimas costs less at walmart, walmart. right now on msnbc, historic health care vote. the senate passes its version along party lines, but it is still not a done deal. one of the biggest hurdles remains. also, stories of survival. the latest on how everyone survived a plane that overshot a runway on its landing.
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it stopped just shy of the caribbean sea. and a big blast of winter in the midwest, mix of snow, ice, rain, winds. you name it, it's making treacherous travel this holiday weekend for millions. last minute is here. shoppers out in full force, trying to grab those christmas gifts at the wire. we'll have the latest live from both coasts. good afternoon to you. i'm peter alexander. all that, plus good news on the econo economy. we hope you're having a good preholiday right now. first, historic health care vote in the senate this morning. washington's winter break can officially begin. they vote and head to the airports. the president and his family now on its way to hawaii. senators are heading home after passing a sweeping health care reform bill early this morning. the vote, as you may have seen, went right down party lines, a stark reminder that this fight is hardly over. the senate bill will have to be merged with the house bill. kelly o'donnell is live on capitol hill. she, i, and the rest of nbc news
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is jealous of the man on the right side of your screen, in honolulu, chuck todd, awaiting the president's arrival. he had to get there ahead of time to make sure everything was set up and in place. >> reporter: i'm sure. acclimate himself to the time zone, right, chuck? >> reporter: have to get acclimated. that's right. >> we'll talk business, kelly, and then we'll talk chuck's surfing prowess. >> reporter: republicans are regrouping and planning what they say will be a full effort to try to stop the end point, and to really talk about the legislation that republicans feel is not good for the country and costs too much. so, there will be some message war going on over the holiday season. the real work begins again in january, in a process where the two chambers, the house and the senate, nominate some members who will be sort of negotiators working on a team to reconcile the two bills. it's called the conference portion of this whole process.
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and what they want to do is get one final bill. much of the two chambers really have the same idea, but there are some critical differences that come down to some very basic things like the house believes there should be a government-run insurance plan as an option. the senate does not. there are differences on who should be taxed and how much taxes should be in this. those kind of differences will have to be sort out with the white house being very involved in that phase of the process. >> chuck, before the president headed your way, he will be very involved in the reconciliation process. he made that very clear. give us a sense of how he moves forward. state of the union likely january 26th, february 2nd. he has a lot to accomplish in a short period of time still. >> reporter: i want to pick up on something kelly said about the message war that's happening already. it happened on the senate floor this morning, where everybody is trying to define this. but the president has to deal with a third factor in this. that is the message war coming from progressives and liberals who are not happy with this
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senate bill. and it was interesting to me to hear the president this morning address that issue. take a listen to how he did it. >> these are not small reforms. these are big reforms. if passed, this will be the most important piece of social legislation since the social security act passed in the 1930s. and the most important reform of our health care system since medicare passed in the 1960s. >> reporter: so, peter, as you see, here is the president while, on one hand, you've got republicans and conservatives defining this as big spending, government takeover. the president now is to spend as much time convincing those on his political left, progressives and liberals that, hey, this is a big reform while at the same time that's what the right is doing. yet you hear a lot of grumbling from those on the left who believe without a public option, with the fact that the only thing about this is that it's a
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m mandate that this is too friendly to the insurance industry. so, it's a tougher challenge for the president because he's getting squeezed on both sides and in the old days you would say that's a good thing. if the left is unhappy and right is unhappy, then the middle is happy. this is a case where it seems like nobody is happy other than maybe the president when he actually gets to sign this thing. >> kelly, can we get a better sense, big picture wise, when we will really see this change as health care reform instituted? so much of it depending on the house or senate bill, whichever one the president ultimately signs, doesn't happen until 2013 or 2014. we're talking three, four years down the road. >> that's one of the things that republicans are certainly jumping on and democrats have tried to focus on what would start right away. one of the things, if this were passed, that would begin right away is that children who have a pre-existing medical condition could not be dropped from insurance. if you have insurance with lots and lots of medical bills under your belt, no more lifetime cap on what the insurance would cover. so, for people who have real
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issues in their families about illness and needing to use insurance, they get some help right away. you're right. when we talk about people being able to get insurance who don't have it now, that would kick in in 2014. it would take a few years for the government to set up what they're going to call an exchange, kind of a menu of choices of private insurers. but the taxes that would change would begin right away. that's one of the issues that republicans have pointed out, saying you pay first, but the benefits for most people wouldn't kick in for a few years. that's one of the big issues, is how soon would the change happen? >> kelly, you're entitled to get in here, too, we can raz our friend, chuck, a little bit. how many steps, roughly, are you from a waterway, ocean, a pool? i just want a sense. could you dip a toe in a hot tub from where you're standing right now? what's the deal? >> reporter: not from where i'm standing, but i guess i can do a cliff dive from this balcony and have a 50/50 chance of hitting something that isn't concrete. >> tennis courts on your right,
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so don't go that direction. >> reporter: chuck, with the time difference, you have to do like the "today" show at like 2:00 in the morning. >> reporter: thank you. >> reporter: we'll give you a little room there. >> reporter: that's right. >> reporter: i'll make sure your driveway is plowed. >> i have a funny feeling kelly is trying to negotiate her way into the next hawaii trip. merry christmas to both of you. thank you, guys. a topic for discussion on sunday as well on "meet the press." white house press secretary robert gibbs will be david gregory's exclusive guest. if it is sunday, it is "meet the press." check your local listings for those times. a deadly car bomb attack near an international hotel in afghanistan. police in kandahar say five people have been killed near the continental hotel. that blast blew out some windows in the hotel. it's not clear who or what was its intended target. at a new jersey father and 9-year-old son are presently on their way back to the united states from brazil.
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that ends a five-year international custody battle. david goldman and his son, shawn, are on a charter plane after the boy's brazilian relatives handed him over to the u.s. consolate. and today, the family of late actress brittany murphy holds a private funeral service at forest lawn hollywood hills cemetery. the coroner still has not ruled on the 32-year-old's cause of death. right now, parts of the midwest are in a middle of a major winter storm. from hawaii to this, unfortunately. two feet of snow is predicted in several places. look at these pictures. you may be able to see right out your window right now. icy roadways are making for treacherous travel. at some airports, flights are being canceleded. people are scrambling, trying to find alternate arrangements. not far from the busiest airport in the world, nick walker, give us a sense where and specifically when can we expect
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the worst? >> it's been ongoing from portions of texas, up to the plains, continuing up to the gulf of mexico to the canadian border. snow, very gusty winds in many pla places and more to come. plus, severe weather. we have already seen tornados in some portions of eastern -- >> lost his mike. >> got you back. >> you got me? >> yes, please explain that thought again. >> we'll talk more about the windy and snowy weather. down toward new orleans, and jackson, mississippi, we have new tornado watches. a line of thunderstorms pushing toward you. we've already seen tornadoes this morning in portions of louisiana and trees knocked down on homes and cars. snow back toward west texas. you're under blizzard warnings now in portions of west texas on up through oklahoma. oklahoma city could see half a foot of snow with winds blowing, all that snow around, limiting
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your visibility. it's flooding problems in arkansas as the rain continues to come down and those blizzard warnings also into the dakotas. minneapolis could see plentyiful snow with winds blowing around, under a winter storm warning right now. as we continue through the day, more snow. probably a foot or more by tomorrow afternoon in eastern nebraska into iowa. more severe weather, heavy rainfall across portions of the southeast. and we'll see those winds strengthen here in minneapolis and green bay, chicago, omaha and st. louis. gusts to 50 miles an hour, five to ten foot snow drifts there in the plains. christmas day will be icy in the inland areas around the northeastern united states. we'll continue to see more heavy rainfall southward. not going to go away fast. as we head through the weekend, things will be improving. >> cold at least for tomorrow. we'll be better off as we head through the weekend. >> that's right. >> thank you, nick. flight data recorders from the american airlines jet accident in jamaica are being taken to labs for decoding.
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they're trying to figure out how the flight overshot the runway in kingston. 80 people were taken to the hospital. remarkably, really, everyone on the flight made it out alive with an incredible story to tell. >> somehow it was miraculous that gallery opened. he went first. i then went behind and he said run. we've got to go. run. keep running. keep running. >> smell of fuel and smoke. no lights. >> nbc news' kerry sanders joins me live on the phone from kings tons. you've been there for the last couple of days. what are the investigators looking for today? >> reporter: well, today, they are actually spending a lot of their efforts actually at the crash site, going into the fuselage of the plane. they have located the flight voice recorder. it has not yet fully been extracted yet. that's the recording device, last 30 minutes of conversation between the pilot and the first officer, which may be useful when they tried to determine what went wrong here.
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they have spent some time looking at the runway of the airport to see if there was anything left on the runway that will help them answer, among the questions they would like to get answered is where the wheels, that landing gear first touched down on the runway. witnesses, passengers on board say that they looked out their window and it appeared that they could see the terminal when the landing gear touched down, which would be an indication that they were well down the runway, maybe halfway down this almost 9,000-foot long runway. if that's the case, that would indicate they had a shortstopping distance, adding to the fact a 15-mile-an-hour tail wind and rain. that could all be a contributing factor. eyewitness accounts are very often unreliable. it's a scientific process. as you noted, the national transportation safety board from washington, d.c. is working in concert with the jamaican authority, and they are the lead agency. it will always typically take up to 12 months or longer to come
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up with a real definitive answer as to what went wrong. i did speak with some passenger this is morning who made their way back out to the crash site in the daylight now, wanting to see what it was they went there. of course, they are anxious to discover what actually was the cause of this. huge celebrations, though, for christmas here. 148 passengers, six crew members who are all thankful to be alive, peter. >> it is a remarkable picture every time we see it. so close to the caribbean sea. those people are so fortunate. that could easily have turned into a much worse situation. kerry sanders in kingston, who has been reporting for nbc on all platforms. ker kerry, thank you. there are signs the economy is on the mend. jobless claims fell for the 16th straight week, bringing the number to the lowest point in more than a year. meanti meantime, stocks jumped as the durable goods came out. big spike in orders for the american factories for durable goods. federal regulators, top
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executives at fannie mae and freddie mac each earned between $4 to $6 million this year. fannie and freddie have needed some $111 billion in taxpayer money to try to stay afloat. retailers for hard-hit storm regions have to be frustrated with the forecast. this truly is their last chance to cash in before the holiday. shoppers' last chance to try to scoop up gifts. according to the national retail federation, 12% of holiday shoppers still have a lot of work to do. and they've got to do it today. in new york, it seems mother nature is finally cooperating. that's where we check in with nbc's michelle franzen at herald mall. you've been browsing around. are you really going to get the best deals at this moment or are they only so-so? >> reporter: they're sort of so-so from what i've seen here and from what i've heard from
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other shoppers along the way this morning. take a look. it may not be just about the deals today. it may just be grabbing what you can get. this store, very popular with preteens and young teens. clothing is one of the big items that shoppers are looking for in terms of bargains. electronics is another thing that's very hot this year for sales. you mentioned that retailers are pulling out all the stops. this is their moment, right before christmas day, that final push. and they are putting out the sales today and shoppers, of course, who have waited until the last minute are out here. some of them have waited on purpose, looking for those extra bargains this year. it's a more educated consumer. they've been looking online and studying up all season. others are pro accuracy conticr >> can you give us a sense? it's been a standoff each year at these malls where people wait
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and the malls hope to push them in early. i imagine they're slashing prices even more, right? >> reporter: exactly. i talked with a few macy's employees this morning and they said now that they're already looking ahead to that day after christmas when, again, sales hit. they're looking for the returns and shoppers who will be out with their gifts of gift cards and cash they received over the holiday period. >> michelle, happy holidays to you and the whole franzen crew. >> reporter: happy holidays. quickly a live picture from oklahoma city, oklahoma. this right now is showing where there is a blizzard warning in effect, this shot courtesy of kfor television, our affiliate there. tower cam shot. you can see the conditions there, nearly whiteout. visibility is limited right now. it should be broad daylight. it looks like it's dusk. we're back with more on the winter storm, where warnings exist and blizzard warnings in places. all next on msnbc. wow, is this... fiber one honey clusters? yes. it's delicious. delicious. i know. but it can't have... can't have about half a day's worth of fiber?
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we're back, watching more live winter weather coverage. the national weather service has issued a blizzard warning for kansas, western north dakota and minnesota. this means dangerous road conditions and, of course, potentially airport delays. the weather channel's mike seidel is live in minneapolis. happy holidays to you. i know one of your colleagues got the trip to florida. somehow you ended up in minneapolis right now clearly you have plenty of snow falling even as we speak. >> reporter: same to you, peter. by the way, adam berg has nothing on me in the keys. i've got my lounge chair. he has been sitting down there in that 80-degree weather. i can sit in my -- whoa, whoa, maybe not. maybe not. >> good effort. >> i tried. okay. here we go. let's talk weather. light snow, peter, across
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minneapolis-st. paul area. we've had about six inches overnight. this is part one of a three parter. you show the picture of the tower cam a few minutes ago from oklahoma city. that's what's really going to get us later today and into christmas day. we're expecting another round or two of heavy snow. another 10 to 15 inches and the wind is going to pick up. we don't have much of any wind right now they're like thaer seeing in oklahoma city. texas getting a blizzard warning, white texas in lubbock. i-94 in good shape. wet, slushy in places. secondary roads that have not been treated are snow packed and snow covered. you mentioned cancellations and delays. over at the airport between 9:00 and noon, they canceled about 120 flights out of msp. deadly story, one fatality reported this morning in scott, louisiana, near lafayette in lafayette county because of thunderstorm winds knocking down a tree on a house.
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in addition to that, we've had about nine reported tornadoes from lufkin and garrison, texas, over toward crowley, another small town west of lafayette. severe weather and a tornado watch, peter, in effect for most of louisiana until 1:00 this afternoon. we've got a little bit of everything for everybody with a storm. this is going to last until saturday here in the twin cities. >> mike, the weather channel's website, you were referring to this as an historic storm. can you give us a sense for folks making their plans when they're going to get out of their destination, where is this thing going to go next? who has to worry about it over the weekend? >> reporter: peter, unlike last weekend's storm, this is a slow mover. it will be saturday before the snow backs off in the upper midwest along with the wind. travel between now and saturday is going to be dicey, especially as you get farther west of here and you get into increasing wind, snow and blowing snow. early this morning, we got reports of drifts four to five feet in parts of kansas. the travel will improve in this part of the world late saturday and sunday.
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part of the storm will get to the east coast. most of what you see along i-95, will be rainfall. there may be sleet and freezing rain in there. this is not going to be the kind of storm and nothing like you saw last weekend as you well know back east. that was one for the record books in many areas. >> mike seidel -- >> reporter: here, our all-time record -- it will be the second storm on record. sorry, peter. back to you. >> merry christmas to you. a white christmas guarantee in florida on the weather channel. they should send some beach up to you in minneapolis, make it warmer for the folks up there. appreciate it. >> reporter: okay, sure. coming up, kidnapping charges for a tennessee man who held police at bay for hours overnight inside a virginia post office. if you missed that story, we'll update you. plus the moments, over five years in the making. 9-year-old shawn goldman is reunited with his own dad. he is now in the air, coming home to the u.s. the latest on that is next on msnbc. ese temperatures.
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clean up in aisle 6. at walgreens, i can get great prices on lights, cards, toys, anything... i need to celebrate the joy of the holidays. clean up in aisle 9. there's even snacks and pop. excuse me. ahhhh. so don't sweat it, just get it all at walgreens. huge saving on last minute gifts from electronics... to health and beauty, and more. come in today for coupon savings worth over $200. walgreens. there's a way to find your joy. during the share the love event, you helped us donate almost $5 million dollars to charity. i chose the boys & girls clubs. it's an investment for the future. i chose the national wildlife federation. our pets are our kids. we chose the aspca. we're sharing the love again this year. because giving back feels good. get a great deal on the subaru outback, motor trend's 2010 sport/utility of the year and two hundred fifty dollars gets donated to your choice of five charities.
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a lot of news making headlines this hour on christmas eve. oklahoma city, oklahoma, look at this. this is a live shot. temperature 26 degrees. blizzard warnings in effect for people across that part of the state. it feels like, they say, with windchill just 10 degrees right now. it is snowing. it is windy. we are told winds are gusting up to 50 miles per hour as we speak. this being described as an historic event in oklahoma state right now. you can see just a couple of hours behind us in new york, it should be broad daylight right now. instead near whiteout conditions for drivers trying to get to their holiday destinations. if you're in that part of the country, certainly drive carefully today. after five long years, new jersey father david goldman has been reunited with his son, shawn. right now, dad and son are on a plane headed back to the u.s. from brazil. a camera caught this shot,
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caught the goldmans giving a thumb's up sign as david boarded a plane in rio with shawn a few steps behind him. this was earlier this morning when his stepfather brought him to the u.s. consolute to hand him over to david goldman. look at the crush of cameras. his return was ordered two days ago. jeff rossen is on the plane with the goldmans. he filed this report from the flight just a short time ago. take a listen. >> we're at 40,000 feet right now. not a dry eye on this airplane when david goldman and shawn goldman walked on board. shawn goldman in very, very good spirits. cute little boy, wearing a little shirt as he is seen in those photos. he is actually sleeping right now. i talked to him a moment ago. he turned chocolate down. that's how tired he is. very peaceful right now. he said he's in good spirits. david goldman has been patting his head and literally just
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staring at him, sitting across from each other at the moment. david goldman is literally just staring at his son with glassy eyes. a very, very touching father/son moment on this airplane. as you know, this has been a five-year fight for david goldman. they're back together now, a reunion that was ordered by brazil supreme court days ago, the brazilian family -- you've seen these pictures by now, paraded shawn down the street today on the way to the u.s. consulate in rio de janeiro. frightened and scared, we're told he was in tears because of the media mob that was surrounding them. inside there was a very private handoff, behind closed doors. david goldman spent some time with saddam hussein shawn in a back room and took him here to the u.s. we are on our way back to the united states in a moment. they will be in new jersey where they live. david goldman says he cannot wait to sit with his boy tonight
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and look at him and know that when he wakes up in the morning he told me he will be there. as you know, a very limited number of supervised visits. right now, david goldman, shawn goldman both on this airplane, headed back to the united states. >> that was jeff rossen, reporting from 40,000 feet up in the air, with the goldmans as they travel back to the u.s. one important note as we discuss this reunion, according to the lawyer force david goldman, the stepfather of shawn goldman was offered an alternative, instead of walking directly into the u.s. consulate, he was offered to go through the basement in order to avoid the cameras, but in his words wanted to make this a spectacle as he entered into that media crush earlier today. we are tracking santa claus on his big trip around the world. he is apparently on track for a late-night arrival in the u.s. we put in a call a short time ago. he's busy. he said he would get back to us. the faa, speaking on his behalf, tells us that rudolph's bright
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red nose and decorative lights are all powered by energy-saving led lights. breaking news here on msnbc. a bit of christmas magic, of course. we'll be right back. baker... you seeing this? (soldier) hey, guys... it's snowing! so, what'd you ask for? something for dad. (announcer) to all of our troops and their families, thank you. because of you... we are all living better.
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alka-seltzer plus is specially formulated... ( sneezes ) with powerful cold-fighting ingredients... and a strong pain reliever to rush relief... everywhere you need it. alka-seltzer plus. we're back here on msnbc. hope you're having a good start to your holiday. democrats are one step closer to getting landmark health care reform passed. this morning's historic 60-39 party line vote clears the way for negotiations to get started between the house and senate versions of the health care bills. that process will begin after the first of the year before heading off to spend his christmas in hawaii, president obama praised the bill, being deeply involved in negotiations to marry the two versions. >> having passed the reform bills in both the house and the senate we now need to take up
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the last and most important step and reach an agreement on a final reform bill i can sign into law. i work forward to working with members of congress in both chamb chambers over the coming weeks to do exactly that. >> here now, chief correspondent john harwood, sheila topowitz with a staff writer. thank you for starting your holiday with us. what challenges still lie ahead? people are talking about history today. we have a ways to go before this thing is signed into law. can you articulate some of the differences in these bills? who wins which fight? right off the bat, we should probably start with -- let's go to public option. one of them has a public option. the other one doesn't. what challenge does that present as we go forward? >> reporter: the challenge is that a lot of people on the left and liberals like the public option, think you need to hold the feet of the insurance companies to the fire. that's pretty clear that the senate cannot get 60 votes for a
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public option. the senate is likely to win that fight. they do have an alternative, which the president argues will have some effect. that is, running the program similar to the federal employees health benefit program overseen by the office of personnel management to have national choices available for those people buying insurance under this new system. so, that is one that the senate is likely to win. >> like upton sinclair's the jungle, this is a sausage making process that a lot of people toent get to see so much of. sheila, the topic of abortion will be hugely significant as there's such divide over that topic. how do both versions view it and what is anticipated to happen as we go forward? >> i think the general consensus is that the senate bill on abortion is not as restrictive and anti-abortion movement in the house bill, congressman bart stupak has said he doesn't think the senate bill goes far enough, quite frankly. that will be a huge thing. very simple nuances between the
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house and senate bill when it comes to abortion, but the house bill is more restrictive. if this new bill that's hammered out between the two committees is too restrictive, then senate democrats will probably not get 60 votes. some of the more liberal senators like patti murray of washington state or senator barbara boxer fall off. they will not support a bill that is restrictive on abortion. >> finally on the federal subsidy, if we can, one of the topics that will create frustration for republicans is this new tax on cadillac health care plans that exist in the senate plan. as we discuss those new taxes, who will they affect specifically? >> reporter: right now, the senate bill taxes plans with a value of more than $23,000. you've got some union workers who say, hey, wait a minute. i'm a firefighter. i'm a police officer in new york city. that's going to hit my plan. this is another one of those fights that the senate is likely to win. the reason is president obama
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want this is cadillac tax because it helps him try to make a credible argument that the bill would bend the cost curve over the long run, reduce the incentives for over utilization, is likely to support that over the senate -- the house package, peter, which would tax individual incomes over $500,000 and couples over a million. >> if we can, shira, talk about the calendar. the state of the union address will likely be the end of january, beginning of february. either january 26th or february 2nd. what do we predict in terms of what's happening next? politico says the final bill passage happens at some point in february, rose garden signing ceremony could be february 10th, i believe they're suggesting. how much time will this process take? when do you anticipate it will all be done? >> i'm going to go with mid february as well. i think by the state of the union we're still going to be talking about some things, still working some things out. mid february is probably a pretty realistic goal. look, what's going to happen is next week, senators and
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leadership in the senate and in the house leadership as well will start talking. there will be a lot of phone calls. obama will be on his cell phone from the beaches of hawaii talking with congressional leadership. when they come back the first week in january, that's when the work starts to happen. it will take several weeks. this is not the last long night we've seen on capitol hill. it will keep going until the bill is passed. >> long nights and early mornings. to both of you, we hope you have a chance to sleep in tomorrow, enjoying your christmas holiday. john and shira, thank you both. final hours to get those last-minute christmas gifts. one of ten be people still apparently haven't finished their shopping list. is that you right now? we'll bring in ilan muwi. are you done? let's get this out there. >> what i will tell you is that my family actually decided not to exchange christmas present this is year. so, i had it easy. >> i'll tell my cousin, patrick, you say hi. that's okay. we're meeting long distance
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right now. what are we seeing at the stores today? what are the deals and where do you find them? >> drugstores and convenience stores are actually seeing increases in traffic. they are some of the place that is will be opened the longest on christmas eve. 7/11 says christmas eve is its busiest shopping day of the entire year, an unexpected place you can do some christmas shopping. really right now we found many shoppers have gotten the deals, retailers have rolled out the red carpet for shoppers and we're really in the homestretch right now. >> a lot of people are staring at their television set seeing the blizzard warnings and bad weather across the country and saying i'll tell my son if he can wait till two days he'll get a better gift. are we going to see much better prices after the holiday or have they done most of the their rolling back already? >> i think retailers have been aggressive this holiday season. the problem we'll see as we head into post christmas is that the inventory is very low. retailers cut back the amount of merchandise they have on their
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shelves this holiday season. if you're out there on the 26th or 27th, you might find there's not that much selection. >> after the new year, the toy or gift everyone will be talking about will be what, in your opinion? >> wondering whether or not their kids are still playing with the zhu zhu pet, that toy hamster everyone is talking about. >> good times. have a terrific holiday. >> thank you. you, too. we mentioned the blizzard warnings. right now let's show you exactly what it looks like. folks somewhere in there is oklahoma city. this is a live shot right now from oklahoma city where the temperature is freezing right now. the windchill is making it feel like ten degrees with winds gusting to 50 miles per hour at times. one of the interstates here is nearly whited out completely. whiteout conditions having a significant impact on drivers in that part of the area, in the plains and across this part of the country you don't have to look at screens to see what it looks like outside, just look outside your window. today, the bad weather is impacting flights across the
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country with a domino effect of delays and cancellations. if you're watching the new ace couple of days ago, we spoke about the significant delays and cancellations. here we go again, the second major weather system to sweep the u.s. in a week, making travel a nightmare across the board. bring in robert sinclair from aaa new york, joining us on this holiday weekend. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> the best advice for drivers is what? if you're trying to avoid the mess, you can't avoid the storm all together. is it better to go early morning or late evening? >> if you could leave now, that would be good. the crush started yesterday. our numbers go from december 23rd to january 3rd. usually that first day of our forecast period is the busiest. it being christmas eve, it's going to be busy. it's easier to travel during daylight hours. it might be better to leave now. >> if you can. >> sure. >> 87 million americans are going to travel more than 50 miles this holiday time. >> right. >> that's actually up right now, isn't it? more people do it on the road and fewer in the skies?
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>> skies are up about 4%, 4 million traveling, 77 million by vehicle. we think that's a good economic indicato indicator. six or seven out of ten jobs have some sort of direct or indirect connection to travel. when people get out, they're doing things, spending money. it's a good indicator. >> if you're packing your car right now and you live in oklahoma city or live in chicago or somewhere else, what are the five key things you need to be packing in the trunk in case of an emergency? >> definitely if you're going to be facing snow, pack a shovel, a blanket, some nonclumping kitty litter, aabrasive to help you out in case you get stuck, gloves, basic tools. we get a lot of cars of flat tires and dead batteries. we're expecting 1.3 million breakdowns and top two items are flat tires and dead batteries. make sure the battery terminals are clean, that your tires are inflated. >> 1.3 million breakdown.
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>> yeah. >> reporter: we pray we are not among them. where are you going? >> home. >> which is close, i guess? >> mom lives very close by. i live in laurelton, queens. it's very close. >> easy trip. have a great holiday. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for coming in on this holiday christmas eve day. the 2-year-old dog named buddy struggled more than an hour until finally helped arrived. rescuers were able to pull buddy to safety. he is now safe and sound with his owner. unbelievable. and in california, surveillance cameras caught a grinch in an suv ruining a christmas display. what a jerk. the video was too grainy to catch the license plate. the owners of the home say it didn't dampen their christmas spirit. they replaced vandalized decorations with new ones. wherever this guy is, make sure you take a little something out hifs stocking this year. ( music playing )
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if toyota gets credit for being the most fuel efficient car company in america, well, then how do you explain all this? chevy malibu, cobalt, silverado, and the all-new equinox. compare them to anyone. may the best car win.
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the great divide between democrats and republicans on health care was on display in today's historic vote. senate leaders even argued over how they'll be welcomed when they land in their home districts later today. >> i guarantee you that people voting for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since thanksgiving. >> yes, we will hear an earful, but it's going to be earful of wonderment and happiness that people waited for, for a long time. >> harry reid certainly in the holiday mood with words like wonderment. patrick murphy and republican strategist david winston. to both of you on this preholiday, this christmas eve, thank you very much. i want to start with you, if i can quickly, patrick. what do you think? we saw so much about constituents speaking at those public forums, town halls, screaming and yelling, furious with their representatives. what do you anticipate the democrats specifically will hear when they head back home to their districts today and the
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days ahead? >> they'll hear a sigh of relief from the american people that they did something and got something done in this congress. i don't think there's a family gathering over the holidays the next ten days that doesn't have a friend or family member who has pre-existing conditions and has not been able to get insured. that alone is a major step. >> let me ask you this. the senate bill is $871 billion, a starter how as it's been described by the democratic senators. people at home that tightened their own belts and see a house version and senate version that's $870 billion plus, aren't they going to start to say where is this money coming from? can we really afford something like this? >> i mean, i think you hit the right theme in the sense that the american public clearly wants health care reform. the problem is not this health care reform. take a look at a lot of the most recent surveys by pretty wide margins people oppose this particular plan. these guys, the reason they were trying to get it done now, they know the more time it took, the
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more people would become opposed. people are not happy with this particular plan. that is different from the desire to have health care reform. >> david, how do the republicans appear not to be obstructionists? what happened? there was a party line vote on both the senate and the house. everyone voted no for it. what has if this thing works out? what do republicans say? >> first offo we don't know when this will work out because most of this doesn't begin to take effect until 2014. >> true. >> the problem is, we're noth going to know until well into the decade which, again, leads to why was there such a hurry to do it right now when clearly most of this won't occur until mid decade. >> patrick, there was been a lot of frustration, perhaps by some of the liberals and some of the progressives within the democratic party right now. what i want to do is play an anti-obama ad that the progressive change campaign committee has put out there. take a listen, get your reaction on the other side. >> any plan i sign must include
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an insurance exchange, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest. >> if a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house. the reason they don't have a house is they don't have the money. >> so, patrick, the question to you is how will this vote affect the president's standing within his own party? democrats, the entire house running for re-election in 2010 and many of those representatives face close bids in just 2008. what will happen when they head back a year from now? >> it's going to be a tough election year, no question, 2010. i think for the president and members of the house and those in the senate that are up for re-election as democrats are going to be able to stand behind this bill and feel good about it. i think the idea that as a democratic white house senate and house of representatives that the democrats did something and did something constructive,
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we have this moving forward hopefully by february and january will be getting on the jobs agenda and getting some things done. >> right. >> people want to see some action. i think that's what they've try ed to deliver. >> patrick and david winston, thank you. have a terrific christmas. >> have a good holiday. >> thank you, peter. blasting the plains, even as we speak. we are back with a live report from chicago. first, though, the 30 rock christmas tree. if you didn't get to see it in person, here it is on your screen. chilly day in new york. temperatures hovering around freezing. it will be a white christmas, it looks like. not long. in fact, green beans lose half their vitamin c in a week. that's why green giant freezes them within 8 hours to lock in nutrients. ho ho ho green giant transform dranks you want, into cold medicine you need. introducing fast crystal packs.
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it may not look like this where you are. we thought we would squeeze in a live look of the beaches on the great island of oahu, where the president will be heading.
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a cool 81 degrees. together, everybody. mmm. unfortunately we have to take you to the midwest. no delays at chicago's airports today. yesterday was an entirely different story. winter weather forced the cancellation of more than 250 flights. heavy snow, sleet, rain, all coating that area. tough place for drivers. so, we're going to check in with the weather channel's chris warren, just outside chicago right now. the good news is so far, so good. i'm understanding, chris, things can change pretty quickly. >> reporter: that's right. now, we're seeing a bit of a transition, peter. earlier this morning, this was the problem. a lot of ice out there coating some of the side streets, the untreated streets, causing some very slippery conditions and multivehicle accidents out there. also weighing down on tree limbs, power lines, causing some power outages. in fact, i want to go ahead and show you a tree right here that did have a pretty good -- still does have a pretty good coating of ice on t you can see right here it's starting to bubble a little bit. if i start to chip away at that.
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could not do that earlier. this is an indication things are getting earlier and surface observations, most areas are warmer than the freezing mark now. we're starting to see a bit of a melt. this is freezing rain when the liquid precipitation freezing on contact with something that is either at or colder than the freezing mark. we're not seeing that anymore. we are seeing regular old rain, peter. that's going to abe problem later on in the chicago area. we have a lot of snow on the ground, about four to eight inches of snow fell the other night. it's still on the ground. we could see one to three inches of rain. you add that in to all the snow, it will create very messy conditions. that will be later on this evening, overnight into early christmas and then once that starts to move off, we'll see the chance for some snow showers. actually, the high temperature tomorrow, peter in the chicago area, most likely will be earlier in the day and get colder as we make our way later and later. >> anyone who watched the famous christmas story knows, keep your tongue off poles and i'm guessing trees this holiday. have a great holiday. >> reporter: you know what?
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>> yeah? >> reporter: okay. >> if you want to put your tongue on the tree, i'll let you. >> reporter: our photographer, gary, was trying to get me to do that for you. i had to fight him on that one. >> that's all good. we'll take care of gary after the show. merry christmas to you. that will it do for me this hour. i'm peter alexander. lynn berry will have the latest on that wicked winter storm stirring up trouble for holiday travelers in the midwest. the severe weather down south where a suspected tornado south carolina blamed for at least one death in louisiana. stay with us on msnbc. have a terrific and safe christmas holiday. with oral-b rechargeable brushes. dentist inspired cupping action sweeps away up to twice as much plaque as a regular manual brush. oral-b rechargeable brushes. starting at $22.

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